Definition of hiatus
- the weedy hiatus between the town and the railroad
- —Willa Cather
- the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party
- —J. G. Colton
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The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus.
steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hiatus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).
: a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped
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